The Oklahoma City Thunder might be moving into a full rebuild. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the franchise is reportedly open to trading Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook is the team’s lone star after the defection of Paul George on Friday night. With George in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City has fallen further down the pecking order in the Western Conference.
Westbrook is under contract through the 2022-23 season, and he is owed a considerable salary for the duration of his deal. That could make finding a trade partner tough.
Also, Charania says the timing of this news makes for an added challenge, considering many teams have already locked in new free agents and may not have enough cap space remaining.
This is based upon relationships on all sides — Russell Westbrook, agent Thad Foucher and GM Sam Presti — and collaborating together and examining alternative solutions. Trade timing is challenging this late in the summer due to salaries frozen across NBA from free-agent deals. https://t.co/L0ABYFwAfH
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 8, 2019
Westbrook is still one of the most physically gifted and productive players in the NBA, but he’s also 30 years old and there are questions about how his game will progress as he ages.
As a point guard who relies on his athleticism and has a questionable outside shot, Westbrook could experience a sharp decline if his body begins to betray him.
Still, because of his positive attributes, you have to figure at least one team will figure he’s worth pulling the trigger on in a trade though.